Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs. Although fairly strong, it’s one of those herbs that marries well with lots of other flavors. But, you have to be really careful with it. For example, it’s not best to combine it with other herbs and, as a tip, add it at the end of the cooking process. Also, you don’t want to chop it too much. You’re better off leaving it whole or cutting it into just a few pieces. Otherwise, it will oxidize from knife to cutting board—before it goes into your dish—giving the herb a slightly bitter or bad taste.
Carrots and pistachios share a flavor affinity with tarragon. I like the depth of flavor that comes from combining them—roasted, in a salad, or blended together, like in this soup. The added pistachios here make this soup quite rich so I’d recommend serving it in small portions. The toppings are optional. I chose cooked beluga lentils and micro greens for added color and texture because I had them on hand. I used only 1-2 leaves of tarragon for garnish so it wouldn’t overpower the other flavors. You could also keep toppings super simple, by sprinkling pistachio shavings and a few micro greens, as in the picture above. A drizzle of pistachio oil would be nice if you have it on hand. Really, this soup can be topped any way you like. Feel free to experiment and let me know what you think!
Carrot and Pistachio Soup with Tarragon
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion or 3 large shallots, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, peeled, grated or finely chopped
2 pounds carrots, peeled, chopped small and evenly
6-8 cups low sodium vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon (plus a few leaves for garnish)
3/4 cups pistachios, toasted (plus more for garnish)
2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup cooked black/beluga lentils, optional topping
microgreens, optional topping
To toast the pistachios, preheat oven to 350F. Spread pistachios on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Heat oil in a large soup pot, add onions, ginger, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook until carrots are slightly tender, about 5-10 minutes. Add 6 or more cups of stock. There should be enough stock in the pot to cover the carrots. Cover pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Carrots should be tender.
Add tarragon and stir. Transfer soup to a high speed blender. If necessary, you can blend the soup in batches. Add pistachios and blitz until smooth. Add more stock if necessary. Return blended soup to the pot and reheat. If consistency is too thick, add more stock or water. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, taste and adjust for salt, pepper and/or lemon juice.
Ladle into bowls and serve garnished with chopped pistachios and lentils and/or micro greens, if using.